How to make Oysters Rockefeller Deconstructed, by chef Slade Rushing

Slade Rushing of Louie London shares the recipe he put together to revitalise this classic dish.

Today’s recipe comes from a recently-opened restaurant, Louie London, occupying a Georgian townhouse at 15 West Street, in the heart of Covent Garden. The food — not to mention the atmosphere, decor and music — is a blend of New Orleans, New York, Paris and London, and the seasonal recipe below is the brainchild of executive head chef Slade Rushing, who worked on it with Guillaume GilpaLouie London’s managing partner, when the pair were opening a restaurant in New York almost two decades ago. “Slade and I created this dish in 2003 for the opening of Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar,’ says Guillaume. ‘We wanted to re-invent this iconic New Orleans dish, which, in our opinion, had seen better days.’

Slade used techniques learned in New York kitchens like poaching seafood in butter, to restore oysters Rockefeller to its former glory: gently poached oysters on a bed of brown-butter spinach, topped with cripsy bacon bits and a hint of liquorice. Originally Slade used Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf oysters — but oysters sourced from Kent, Sussex or anywhere else across the UK will do you proud.

See more about Louie London’s restaurant, bar, terrace and jazz nights at louie-london.com.

Recipe: Oysters Rockefeller ‘Deconstructed’

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 4 thick slices bacon
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 20 medium oysters, freshly shucked
  • 1 stick liquorice root (or 1tsp of liquorice liqueur such as Pernod)

Method

Line a plate with paper towels. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to the prepared plate and let cool, then chop it finely and reserve.

To prepare the spinach mixture, heat 1/2 cup of the butter in a deep skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add the spinach, garlic, and shallots, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the greens are wilted, about 1 minute, being careful not to cook for too long, transfer the spinach to a colander to drain. Remove and discard the crushed garlic and finely chop the spinach. Set aside.

To make the butter sauce, cut the remaining 1 1/2 cups butter into 1-inch cubes. Heat the water in a small saucepan until simmering, decrease the heat and whisk in the butter pieces, one by one, whisking constantly and emulsifying the butter into the water, once the butter is incorporated, the result is a smooth, velvety sauce. Turn off the heat, add the lemon slices, and steep for about 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste, and if not using liquorice root then add 1tsp Pernod (or similar liqueur). The sauce should be kept warm on top of the stove (not on direct heat) until ready to use.

To assemble the dish, bring the butter sauce to a simmer. Rewarm the spinach mixture over low heat in a small saucepan and place it in neat piles in small serving spoons. Drop the oysters in the simmering butter and poach them until they are warm, and the edges begin to curl slightly, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the oysters with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Place an oyster on each pile of spinach. Spoon a small amount of butter onto each oyster. Top each with chopped bacon. Finely grate liquorice root on top and serve.